Abdullah Gül

His Excellency
Abdullah Gül
Abdullah Gül 2013-04-03.jpg
Emblem of the President of Turkey.svg
11th President of Turkey
Incumbent
Assumed office
28 August 2007
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Preceded by Ahmet Necdet Sezer
Prime Minister of Turkey
In office
18 November 2002 – 14 March 2003
President Ahmet Necdet Sezer
Preceded by Bülent Ecevit
Succeeded by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
In office
28 March 2003 – 28 August 2007
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Preceded by Mehmet Ali Şahin
Succeeded by Cemil Çiçek
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
14 March 2003 – 28 August 2007
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Preceded by Yaşar Yakış
Succeeded by Ali Babacan
Personal details
Born (1950-10-29) 29 October 1950 (age 63)
Kayseri, Turkey
Other political
affiliations
Welfare (1991–1997)
Virtue (1997–2001)
Justice and Development (2001–2007)
Spouse(s) Hayrünnisa Gül (m. 1980)
Children Ahmet Münir, Kübra, Mehmet Emre
Alma mater Istanbul University
University of Exeter
Religion Sunni Islam
Signature Abdullah Gül's signature.png
Website www.tccb.gov.tr

Abdullah Gül, GCB[1] Listeni/ɡl/ (Turkish pronunciation: [abduɫˈɫɑh ˈɟyl]; born 29 October 1950) is the 11th and current President of Turkey, in office since 28 August 2007. He previously served for four months as Prime Minister from 2002 to 2003, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2007.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's nomination of Gül as a presidential candidate drew strong and highly vocal opposition from ardent supporters of secularism in Turkey. In May 2007, Gül's first bid for presidency was blocked by the Constitutional Court,[2] due to concern over views Gül expressed during his Welfare Party years.[3] However, following the parliamentary elections in July of the same year, which were won by the Justice and Development Party with 46.6% of the popular vote, he was eventually elected President on 28 August 2007 and was sworn in the same day, becoming the first president of Islamist background in the modern history of Turkey.[4][5]

Early life

President Gül was born in Kayseri, a city in central Anatolia. His father is Ahmet Hamdi Gül, a retired air force mechanic, and his mother is Adviye Gül (née Satoğlu). His family has lived in the Güllük district of Kayseri for about a century.[6][7] His ancestry/ethnicity according to a Çankaya Presidential Residence statement is "Turkish Muslim." Gül was also called with the name Cumhur (which means 'people') by his family.[8]

Education

Gül studied Economics at the Istanbul University. During his graduate education, he studied for two years in London and Exeter in the United Kingdom. Whilst in the UK he was on the Executive Committee of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS). He pursued an academic career after that and worked at the higher education facilities in Adapazarı, collaborating in the establishment of the Department for Industrial Engineering and teaching Management courses at the ITU Sakarya Engineering Faculty, which later became the Sakarya University in 1992. He received a PhD degree from the Istanbul University in 1983. He is also conferred to an Honorary PhD degree from Amity University, NOIDA -India on 8 February 2009, and an LL.D. degree from University of Dhaka on 13 February 2010.[9] Between 1983 and 1991, he worked at the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In 1991, he became a lecturer in International Management.

Entry into politics

Gül became acquainted with right-wing politics early during his high school years. During his university education, he became a member of the Islamist-nationalist Millî Türk Talebe Birliği (National Turkish Students' Union) in the line of Necip Fazıl's Büyük Doğu (Grand Orient) current.[10]

He was elected a member of the Turkish parliament for the Refah Partisi (RP, "the Welfare Party") from the Kayseri electoral district in 1991 and 1995. During these years, he made statements about the political system of Turkey that was designed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the Turkish National Movement, which included "This is the end of the republican period" and "The secular system has failed and we definitely want to change it".[11] These statements caused controversy when his candidacy for the 2007 presidential election was announced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.[12]

In 1999, he kept his seat as a member of the Fazilet Partisi (FP, "the Virtue Party") which was subsequently outlawed by the Constitutional Court for its violation of the Constitution. Its predecessor, the Refah Partisi, was also outlawed by the Constitutional Court for its violation of the Constitution, especially the principle of secularism. By this time, Gül had apparently moderated his views and was reportedly considered to be part of the Virtue Party's reformist faction. As such, he was among the founders of the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party), a party which billed itself as a moderate conservative party in the European tradition. He was elected once again to represent Kayseri in 2002.[13]

An interview he gave in 2002 summarizes his criticisms of the Refah Partisi under the leadership of Necmettin Erbakan and his portrayal of the AKP as a moderate party:

"In the Welfare Party, there were groups demanding sharia rule. Welfare did not represent the local values we are now cultivating. The ideology of the party was partially shaped by alien imports. [He was referring to the impact of the Islamist ideology of the Iranian Revolution and Arab states on Welfare's ideology.] Our vision was at odds with the rest of the party. The despotic rule of Erbakan Hoca made it impossible for us to realize our vision under the rubric of the National View. We believe that modernization and being Muslim complement each other. We accept the modern values of liberalism, human rights, and market economy."[14]

AKP career

Prime minister

After the Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the most votes in the November 2002 general election, Gül was appointed Prime Minister, as AK Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was unable to assume the role due to a ban on his participation in politics. After Gül's government secured legislation allowing Erdoğan's return to politics, the latter took over as prime minister on 14 March 2003. Gül was appointed deputy prime minister and foreign minister.

Foreign minister

After becoming foreign minister in March 2003, Gül became the key player in Turkey's attempts to receive an accession date for the European Union and in its attempts to improve relations with Syria and maintaining its relationship with the Turkic-speaking countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus. On 8 January 2008, Gül flew to the United States to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.[15]

Presidency

Gül with Barack Obama on Obama's first visit to Ankara.
Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Russia, 13 February 2009.

Prime Minister Erdoğan announced on 24 April 2007 that Gül would be the Justice and Development Party candidate in the 2007 presidential election. Previously, there had been speculation that Erdoğan himself would be the party's candidate, which had provoked substantial opposition from secularists.[16][17] When a boycott of opposition parties in Parliament deadlocked the election process, Gül formally withdrew his candidacy on 6 May 2007. If elected he would be the first president to have been involved with Islamist parties.

But a few days later, on 11 May 2007 when he inquired after the alterations to the Turkish constitution which now allowed the people to elect the president directly rather than a parliamentary vote, Gül announced that he was still intending to run.[18][19]

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and President Abdullah Gul during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace of Cankaya in Ankara, Turkey.
Gül and Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner at the Cankaya presidential palace in Ankara, Turkey, 20 January 2011.

Following the July 2007 parliamentary election, the AK Party renominated Gül as its presidential candidate on 13 August; the election was again held as a vote of parliament.[20] On 14 August, Gül submitted his candidacy application to parliament and expressed his commitment to secularism at a news conference.[21]

On 28 August 2007, he was elected president in the third round of voting; in the first two rounds, a two-thirds majority of MPs had been required, but in the third round he needed only a simple majority. Gül was sworn in immediately thereafter.[22] The process was a very low-key affair.[23] Gül's swearing-in was not attended by the Chief of the Turkish General Staff and was boycotted by the opposition Republican People's Party; then the hand-over of power at the presidential palace was held behind closed doors. Gül's wife was not present. This approach continued; the traditional evening reception hosted by the new president at the presidential palace for the country's highest authorities was announced for 11:30 in the morning and wives were not invited.[24]

Map of international trips made by Abdullah Gül as president.

His presidency has been described as a "new era in Turkish politics", for being the first devout Muslim president of Turkey.[25]

Gül received messages of congratulation from the US, EU and German authorities while Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdoğan made a statement saying "a structure doomed to uncertainty has been overcome" (an oblique reference to the deep state theory that Turkey is ruled behind-closed-doors by a secret conspiracy of soldiers and bureaucrats).[26]

In September 2008 he became the first Turkish leader to visit Armenia, sparking a major debate in Turkey.[27]

In November 2011, President Gül led a state visit to the United Kingdom as a guest of Queen Elizabeth II.[28] The President met political and business leaders, visited the Olympic Park and was guest of honour at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

In November 2013, Abdullah Gul called on Muslim countries to fight against Islamophobia during his address at the 29th session of the COMCEC in Istanbul. he said:

"Islamophobia remains a critical problem, which instigates unsubstantial prejudices against our region and Muslims. Terror plays a role in the persistence of such problems. We have to combat any form of deviation playing into the hands of people who equate terrorism with Islam, the religion of love, tolerance and conciliation,"

[29]

Statements on the Middle East

Gül has been a critic of Israel and Western countries which established relations with Israel at the expense of Palestine.[30] After the Israeli raid on the MV Mavi Marmara in 2010, he advocated the complete ending of diplomatic relations with Israel, stating that "Israel will turn into a complete apartheid regime in the next 50 years if it does not allow for the establishment of an independent and proud Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem. That is why we are exerting efforts to achieve a fair peace with a strategic point of view, which is to Israel's own interests."[31]

On 31 December 2012, he stated with respect to the Arab spring and democratization of the Arab world: "But democracy is not only about elections. The task of creating essential democratic institutions – the rule of law, habits of accountability, gender equality, and freedom of expression and faith – still awaits these countries".[32][33] Gül believes that the Arab world has a long road ahead and that it needs to do more to entrench and embrace democratic government.

History of titles

Foreign honours

Ribbon bar Award or decoration Country Date Place Note Ref.
Noribbon.svg Pro Merito medal by European Council  European Union 2002 Brussels [35]
Ordine del Re Abd al-Aziz.png First Class Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud  Saudi Arabia 9 November 2007 Ankara The order was named after Abdulaziz Al Saud. [36]
Order of the Bath (ribbon).svg Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath  United Kingdom 13 May 2008 Ankara British order of chivalry. [37]
Order of Independence (Qatar) - ribbon bar.gif Necklace of Independence  Qatar 17 August 2009 Istanbul [35][38]
PRT Order of Prince Henry - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry  Portugal 12 May 2009 Ankara Portuguese National Order of Knighthood. [39]
ITA OMRI 2001 GC-GCord BAR.svg Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic  Italy 17 November 2009 Ankara The highest ranking honour of the Italian Republic [40]
Order of Mubarak the Great (Kuwait) - ribbon bar.gif Collar of the Order of Mubarak the Great  Kuwait 21 December 2009 Kuwait City [41]
Noribbon.svg 2010 Chatham House Prize  United Kingdom 20 March 2010 London Gul awarded "Statesman of the Year" by Queen Elizabeth II. [42]
Order of Merit (Cameroon).svg Order of Merit of Cameroon  Cameroon 16 March 2010 Yaoundé Second highest order in Cameroon. [43]
Ord.Nishan-i-Pakistan.ribbon.gif Nishan-e-Pakistan  Pakistan 31 March 2010 Islamabad Pakistan's highest civil order. [44][45]
HUN Order of Merit of the Hungarian Rep 1class Collar BAR.svg Grand Cross with Chain Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary  Hungary 15 November 2011 Ankara The highest state order and second class of Hungary. [46]
NLD Order of the Dutch Lion - Grand Cross BAR.png Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion  The Netherlands 16 April 2012 Amsterdam Netherlands' Lion, established in 1815. [47]
Ord.GoldenEagle-ribbon.gif Order of the Golden Eagle  Kazakhstan 11 October 2012 Ankara The highest decoration of Kazakhstan. [48]
Order of the Seraphim - Ribbon bar.svg Knight of the Order of the Seraphim  Sweden 11 March 2013 Stockholm The highest order awarded by Swedish Royalty [49][50]
GEO St-George Victory Order BAR.svg St. George's Victory Order  Georgia 19 April 2013 Ankara Second highest state decoration awarded by President of Georgia. [51]
Star of President Order (Turkmenistan) - ribbon bar.png Star of President Order  Turkmenistan 29 May 2013 Ashgabat The first order given to foreign president in Turkmenistan. [52][53]
St Olavs Orden storkors stripe.svg Grand Cross with Collar of Order of St. Olav  Norway 5 November 2013 Ankara The highest ranking honour of the Kingdom of Norway. [54]
“Heydər Əliyev” ordeninin lenti.jpg Heydar Aliyev Order  Azerbaijan 12 November 2013 Ankara The highest national order of Azerbaijan. [55][56]
Ord.Lion.Nassau.jpg Knights of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau  Luxembourg 18 November 2013 Ankara The highest national order in Luxembourg. [57][58]

See also

References

  1. ^ Presidency of the Republic of Turkey : Abdullah GÜL
  2. ^ Ercan Yavuz (31 July 2008) "Evidence indicates Ergenekon tried to block presidential election" Zaman. Retrieved on 9 February 2009.
  3. ^ "Gül'ün adaylığını doğru bulmuyoruz". CNN Türk (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  4. ^ Turks elect ex-Islamist president BBC News (28 August 2007). Retrieved on 9 February 2009.
  5. ^ Gul sworn in as Turkey's first former Islamist president Daily Mail (29 August 2007). Retrieved on 9 February 2009.
  6. ^ Kurt, Süleyman. "'Cumhur' İkinci Kez Köşk Yolunda". Zaman (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  7. ^ Siyaset. "'Ergenekon davasında mahkemeler görevini yapacak'". Milliyet (in Turkish). 27 July 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2008. 
  8. ^ "Doğum Günü 29 Ekim". Radikal (in Turkish). 25 April 2007. 
  9. ^ Star Online Report (13 February 2010). "Doctor of Laws degree conferred on Abdullah Gül". Thedailystar.net. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "Abdullah Gul's Unknown Sides/Exclusive". World Bulletin (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 31 August 2007. 
  11. ^ "Cumhuriyet bitmiş". Milliyet. Archived from the original on 23 August 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "Abdullah Gül: The Man Who Would be Turkey's President". Deutsche Welle (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 23 August 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  13. ^ Abdullah Gül's historic profile Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (24 March 2014). Retrieved on 25 March 2014.
  14. ^ Güneş Murat Tezcür, Muslim Reformers in Iran and Turkey: The Paradox of Moderation, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010, p. 157.
  15. ^ President Bush Meets with President Gul of Turkey, The White House Archives, 8 January 2008.
  16. ^ "Turkey's ruling party announces FM Gül as presidential candidate", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), 24 April 2007.
  17. ^ "Turkey 'must have secular leader'", BBC News, 24 April 2007.
  18. ^ "Gül: Adaylığımız devam ediyor". Hurriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 11 May 2007. 
  19. ^ "Gül adaylıktan çekildi". Hurriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 11 May 2007. 
  20. ^ "Turkey's ruling party renominates Gül as presidential candidate", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), 13 August 2007.
  21. ^ Turkey's Gul vows secular agenda, BBC News, 14 August 2007.
  22. ^ "Turkish foreign minister wins presidency, in victory for Islamic-rooted government", Associated Press, International Herald Tribune, 28 August 2007.
  23. ^ "Generals Protest Against Gül's Presidency". Turkish Daily News (Hürriyet). 29 August 2007. 
  24. ^ Koylu, Hilal (1 September 2007). Politika. "Köşk'e ilk davet eşsiz". Radikal (in Turkish). Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  25. ^ Amberin Zaman (29 August 2007). "Turkey elects Islamist president Abdullah Gül" Telegraph. Retrieved on 10 February 2009.
  26. ^ "Türkiye'nin 11. Cumhurbaşkanı Abdullah Gül". Radikal (in Turkish). 29 August 2007. 
  27. ^ "Gul in landmark visit to Armenia". BBC News. 6 September 2008. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  28. ^ British Monarchy website [www.royal.gov.uk]
  29. ^ [www.worldbulletin.net]
  30. ^ Abdullah, Gul to discuss Palestine, bilateral relations, Turkish News, 3 February 2009.
  31. ^ "Turkish president warns Israel". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  32. ^ [www.project-syndicate.org]
  33. ^ [www.tccb.gov.tr]
  34. ^ "T.C. CUMHURBAŞKANLIĞI : Abdullah Gül". Tccb.gov.tr. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  35. ^ a b "Biography of Abdullah Gül". Precidency of Republic of Turkey. 2002. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  36. ^ Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  37. ^ Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  38. ^ "Türkiye-Katar: Her Konuda Tam Mutabakat". Precidency of Republic of Turkey. 17 August 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  39. ^ Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  40. ^ Photo (President Napolitano present Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.) Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  41. ^ Presidency of the Republic of Turkey (Photo)
  42. ^ "Gül winner of prestigious Chatham House award". Today's Zaman. 20 March 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  43. ^ Photo (President Paul Biya present th award.) Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  44. ^ "Turkish President awarded Nishan-i-Pakistan". Associated Press of Pakistan. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  45. ^ Photo of Nishan-e-Pakistan
  46. ^ Presidency of the Republic of Turkey (Photo)
  47. ^ Photo of President receiving the Order. His wife has received The Order of the Crown
  48. ^ Presidency of the Republic of Turkey (Photo)
  49. ^ Noblesse et Royautes (French), State visit of Turkey in Sweden, Gala dinner, March 2013
  50. ^ Photo
  51. ^ "Biography of Abdullah Gül (Turkish)". Precidency of Republic of Turkey. 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  52. ^ Президент Турецкой Республики удостоен высшей государственной награды Туркменистана
  53. ^ Photo
  54. ^ Presidency of the Republic of Turkey (Photo)
  55. ^ "Çankaya köşkündə Azərbaycan və Türkiyə prezidentlərinin təltif edilməsi mərasimi olmuşdur. president.az" (in Azerbaijani). 
  56. ^ Photo
  57. ^ "Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg at the Çankaya Presidential Palace". Presidency of the Republic of Turkey. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  58. ^ Presidency of the Republic of Turkey (Photo)

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Bülent Ecevit
Prime Minister of Turkey
2002–2003
Succeeded by
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Preceded by
Mehmet Ali Şahin
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
2003–2007
Succeeded by
Cemil Çiçek
Preceded by
Yaşar Yakış
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey
2003–2007
Succeeded by
Ali Babacan
Preceded by
Ahmet Necdet Sezer
President of Turkey
2007–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
New Party
Deputy Leader of Ak Parti
2001–2007
Succeeded by
Cemil Çiçek